Registration opens on Wednesday for annual challenge to ride 500 kilometres between Christmas and New Year

The Rapha Festive 500 is back for an eighth year, challenging cyclists to ride 500 kilometres during the eight days between Christmas and New Year.

Online registration for this year’s edition will open on Wednesday 6 December and the same day also sees the launch of a Rapha collection dedicated to it, comprising a cap, musette, neck warmer, socks and T-shirt.

People logging 500 kilometres on Strava will be entitled to receive a commemorative woven patch celebrating their achievement, and as in previous years, a variety of prizes will also be offered.

The concept of the Rapha Festive 500 started in 2009 when the brand’s lead designer, Graeme Raeburn, challenged himself to ride 1,000 kilometres between Christmas and New Year.

When the event was opened to the public the following year, the distance was halved to 500 kilometres, with 84 riders taking part; by last year, that had risen to 82,000.

People taking part in the challenge are asked “to document their journey and submit their stories to Rapha.”

The brand says that “entries can take any format, and we are looking for the most original, emotional or thought provoking.

Some 800 cyclists entered last year’s Rapha Festive 500 competition, with Ruth Cousins from Wales winning a trip to Steamboat Springs in Colorado, USA to pick up her first prize of a custom-built Moots bike.

Cousins, a police officer, had submitted seven hand-painted cards addressed to her late father in which she wrote of her rides in Wales in winter as well as her job and caring for her family.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.